Hayabusa 2 touchdown on asteroid Ryugu
Wow, wow, wow. What a great video. On February 21, Japan’s Haybusa 2 probe briefly touched down on the asteroid Ryugu, fired a bullet into the rocky rubble and collected a sample that will be returned to Earth in December 2020. You can see the collector horn at top center as the spacecraft descends to the surface.
Hayabusa-2 photo of Ryuku’s south pole region, the site of a striking-large boulder. JAXA
The shadow cast by Hayabusa 2 grows, the rocks get closer and closer and finally, contact! You can’t see the tantalum bullet being fired, but it didn’t miss. Look at those rocks flying. Some hopefully made it into the horn where they were sealed for safekeeping in a canister. Ryugu is only about a half-mile across (0.8 km) and has so little gravitational pull that the remaining debris tumbled and floated above the asteroid before settling back on the surface.
Looking to get into a little rubble? Check out this closeup of Ryugu taken from just 210 feet (64 meters). The scale bar is 1 meter or about 3 feet. JAXA, Univ. of Tokyo, Kochi Univ., Rikkyo Univ., Nagoya Univ., Chiba Institute of ...